I get it all the time, how am I managing all this traveling? There’s a lot that goes into it. By nature, I’m drawn to finding a good deal. The hunt for a good deal plays into my inquisitive researcher nature (that’s right, I just spun “geek”) and my love of planning. One day I’ll have to share the story of how I became a 5 star General in bridal warfare at The Running of the Brides.
Let’s get down to the gritty of it! Orlando! Tomorrow I leave the Keys and head up to Orlando for 3 nights and 2 days of Disney and Harry Potter World (the rest of Universal Studios doesn’t interest me at the moment). The whole excursions including hopper tickets and my hotel stays, but not including my food, is at a current bill of $81. What?!? Yeah, I know. Let’s dive in!
Do not worry, I hear you all grumbling all the way down here in the Keys that I got media tickets for Disney. Never did I think that would happen. Ever. It didn’t hurt to ask. Universal said no. Disney blew my mind and said yes.
My first tip is going to be hard for y’all to handle. Sometimes you just have to ask. It goes against everything Southern in us to ask. It just seems so rude! So tacky! So imposing! You can do this though! Think of every party you’ve ever attended.
How many times have you popped your head in the kitchen to ask the hostess if there was any little thing you could help with? You would never dream of not doing it! What would they think of your manners?!? Who raised you?
So channel those manners and ask! Maybe you’re not media, maybe you know someone. Media is allotted two tickets each year (every 12 months). Even though I didn’t need two, they gave me two. So I asked the world, does no one want to come with? You would be surprised at how hard it is to give a free ticket to Disney World is to giveaway. Luckily, Lola is bringing her cherubs and coming down! Now Disney tickets aren’t cheap. There are military discounts, agents, even Florida resident discounts.
Double lucky, Lola has offered to let me stay with her and the cherubs since I’m sharing my tickets. Snap! I already booked a no refundable room with Expedia!
*UDPATE* Lola booked her room at Disney All Star Resort on property for less than $100 a night 2 days prior
Guess what I did? I called. They called the hotel and asked if I could not be penalized for moving my reservation back a day since I was staying with the same hotel, they gave their approval. I knew that a Friday night would be more expensive than my weekday reservation. Much to the shock of the lovely lady at Expedia, the room was twice the price.
I had booked a room at the Orlando Metropolitan Resort. I was also told by credible source that the Red Lion was clean, safe, budget friendly, and great location. What set this 2.3 star hotel apart from the rest?
- Free parking
- Free breakfast
- Free shuttle to both parks
- No resort fees
- An outdoor pool
*UPDATE* I ended up booking at Red Lion instead. They are 1 mile from Universal Studios with a free shuttle. There is a $9 resort fee.
Thanks to big brother, Expedia had noticed my recent search without booking and sent me an alert for the room rates. Prices have dropped! Do I want to book now? My weeknight room was only $48 after tax.
Double the money may not have been that bad for the area. Expedia Wonder Woman didn’t agree. She gave me a complete refund and a $50 voucher. Now, I only asked to move my dates. Just asking that, I now have my hotel room for $21 after tax out of pocket.
We all know I’ve been going with the flow and that it’s been my struggle. Part of this going with the flow is getting there when I get there. On the way to Miami, shortly after crossing into Florida, I kept seeing signs for the Official Info Center! Tickets to Universal for $69! Yeah, right.
Then I saw ether signs for the boot store, buy 1 pair get 2 free! My hunter radar kicked in. Nevermind I’m a nomad living out of my car. Then came the sign for 14ft alligator! That’s worth stopping for!
With low expectations, I went up to the counter. Those aren’t $69 hopper tickets are they? Nope. Though they do offer a pretty steep discount on tickets, about $50, they were still expensive. I could always do the promotion! Of course I could. Except with the promo my hopper ticket is only $64 after tax and comes with a free breakfast. If I want to stay at the hotel, it’only $55 a night after tax with free parking and shuttle.
Do I want to take a tour of Westgate Resorts? No. Is that tour worth saving $110? Hells yeah it is! I’m just going to snag every bagel and muffin not nailed down.
I always ask about a media discount. I always ask what offers are available. I always ask who I might know (like the park employee who is a friend of a friend who can’t give out tickets, can give out Fast Passes). Think how much y’all want to help me along my way, there’s versions of you out there. Just ask.
Next week: discounted flight across the globe without knowing anyone like my ticket from Chicago to LA with a personal item, a carry on, and wifi on United for $64 after tax.
Need trip help? Don’t hesitate to ask! I’ve got a whole bag of tricks up my sleeve that do me no good if I don’t share!